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Akufo-Addo announces lockdown of Accra, Kumasi, Tema to curb COVID-19 spread

President Nana Akufo-Addo has declared a lockdown of Accra and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region effective 1am on Monday, March 30, 2020.

 

 

In Greater Accra, the following areas will be affected:

1. Accra Metropolis;

2. Tema Metropolis;

3. Tema West Municipality;

4. Ledzokuku Municipality;

5. Krowor Municipality;

6. Adentan Municipality;

7. Ashiaman Municipality;

8. La-Nkwantanang-Madina Municipality;

9. La-Dade-Kotopon Municipality;

10. Okaikwei North Municipality;

11. Ablekuma North Municipality;

12. Ablekuma West Municipality;

13. Ablekuma Central Municipality;

14. Ayawaso East Municipality;

15. Ayawaso North Municipality;

16. Ayawaso West Municipality;

17. Ayawaso Central Municipality

18. Ga West Municipality;

19. Ga North Municipality;

20. Ga Central Municipality;

21. Ga South Municipality;

22. Ga East Municipality;

23. Korle-Klottey Municipality;

24. Weija/Gbawe Municipality;

25. Kpone Katamanso Municipality; and

26. Awutu Senya East Municipality.

In the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and contiguous districts, the following areas are affected:

1. Kumasi Metropolis;

2. Asokwa Municipality;

3. Suame Municipality;

4. Old Tafo Municipality;

5. Oforikrom Municipality;

6. Asokore Mampong Municipality;

7. Kwadaso Municipality;

8. Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality;

9. Kwabre East Municipality;

10. Ejisu Municipality;

11. Afigya-Kwabre South District;

12. Bosomtwi District;

13. Atwima Kwanwoma District; and

14. Atwima Nwabiagya North District.

This, in essence, means that everyone resident in these areas must stay at home for the next two weeks. However, if you must go out, it must only be to get essential items such as food, medicine, water, undertake banking transactions, or to use public toilet facilities. But, as much as possible, stay at home.

There shall be, during this period, no inter-city movement of vehicles and aircrafts for private or commercial purposes for the areas of the restrictive measures, except for vehicles and aircrafts providing essential services and those carrying cargo. Riders of motorbikes are not allowed to carry any additional person, and all intra-city passenger vehicles, such as trotros and taxis, must reduce the number of passengers in order to observe appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols. Additionally, all commercial vehicle stations shall observe appropriate hygiene protocols and social distancing. The Ministry of Transport has engaged the transport operators and unions in this regard. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has also engaged with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the leaders of the market associations in the country to make satisfactory arrangements about the operation of the markets that ensure observance of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols. In any event, only persons involved in the food value chain can operate in the markets during this period.

Individuals and institutions providing the following services shall be exempted from the restrictions:

i Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;

ii production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages;

iii environmental and sanitation activities;

iv staff of VALCO;

v road and railway construction workers;

vi mining workers;

vii fisherfolk;

viii members of the security agencies assigned lawful duties;

ix staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers; and

x staff of fuel stations.

Fellow Ghanaians, to accelerate the contact tracing process, and ensure we curtail the spread of the virus in the shortest time, we will use the military and police to assist health authorities to expediate the process. We will also pursue a policy of testing ALL CONTACTS of people tested positive.

The affected areas, and, indeed, all other regions have earmarked designated isolation and treatment centres for the management of suspected and confirmed cases, as well as the selection of facilities for mandatory quarantine is being carried out. An intensive public health education and community awareness on social distancing and hand washing will be carried out.

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It is very important that we protect all healthcare providers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs)to make sure they do not contract the virus in the process of protecting our lives. Government has, therefore, taken delivery of additional PPEs and more are being procured. Distribution of seventeen thousand (17,000) coveralls, three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) masks, seventeen thousand (17,000) goggles, two thousand four hundred (2,400) non-contact thermometers, three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) gloves, twenty-five thousand (25,000) sanitsers, and thirty-thousand (30,000) tests kits are ongoing for healthcare personnel and those undertaking contact tracing and testing. We are recruiting one thousand (1,000) community health workers and an additional thousand (1,000) volunteers to help in this endeavour. One hundred pick-up vehicles and two thousand, five hundred (2,500) tablets have been mobilized for the exercise.

Fellow Ghanaians, I am urging all of you to bear with these additional measures. They are being done in the interest of all of us. They are, hopefully, only for a short while. These additional measures, together with those earlier announced, are what will help us defeat the virus. And, we must be united in our determination and efforts to overcome this challenge. This, certainly, is not the time for politicking or the display of partisanship. The virus does not care which party you belong to, neither is it, as we have seen, a respecter of persons. The enemy is the virus, and not each other.

As I have stated in my earlier broadcasts, all the measures I have announced tonight will be subject to constant review.

Fellow Ghanaians, we are in this together, and Government will stand by you. We are aware that there will be discomfort and difficulties for all of us over the next couple of weeks. As a responsive Government, we will continue to implement bold measures to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that job losses are minimized. The Minister for Finance has been directed by me to prepare, for approval by Parliament, a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of our people, and to rescue and revitalize our industries. He will, then, immediately make available a minimum of one billion cedis (GH¢1 billion) to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises. The commercial banks are, in addition, responding to the Bank of Ghana’s 1.5% decrease in the Policy Pate and 2% in reserve requirement with a three billion-cedi (GH¢3 billion) facility, to support industry especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.

We are providing additional relief, such as extension of the tax filing date from April to June; a two percent (2%) reduction of interest rates by banks, effective 1st April, 2020; the granting by the banks of a six (6) month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries, i.e. hotels, restaurants, car rentals, food vendors, taxis, and uber operators. All other sector credit exposures will be reviewed on a case by case basis; mobile money users can send up to one hundred cedis (GH¢100) for free; and a one hundred percent (100%) to three hundred percent (300%) increase in the daily transaction limits for mobile money transactions

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Let me also reiterate that the ban on public gatherings, religious or social, is still in force. Anyone, irrespective of status, religion or ethnicity, who is found to be flouting them will be dealt with fully in accordance with law. The security services have been clothed with the necessary power to enforce these measures, and I assure you that they will do so responsibly, but without fear or favour, ill-will or malice.

Fellow Ghanaians, with the Bank of Ghana predicting a worst-case GDP growth rate scenario of 2.5% for 2020, should the virus continue to linger for the rest of the year, the effects on our economy would be dire. However, as we have demonstrated over the course of the last three years, where we inherited an economy that was growing at 3.4% and transformed it into one which has grown by an average of 7% over the last three (3) years, I assure you that we know what to do to bring back our economy back to life. What we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life.

We will, therefore, protect people’s lives, then their livelihoods.

For the next two weeks, I urge all of you, especially residents in the affected areas of Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi, to be reminded, every day, that the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus is your front door. If you cross it, you and your family will likely be infected. So, please, stay at home. It is vitally important that each one of us, in all parts of the country, continues to observe the social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols, for they are the weapons of our defence against the virus.

I am announcing tonight the establishment of a COVID-19 Fund, to be managed by an independent board of trustees, and chaired by former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to receive contributions and donations from the public to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable. I have directed the Controller and Accountant General to pay my next three months’ salary, i.e. April, May and June, into this Fund. Let me also thank, from the bottom of my heart, the churches, financial institutions and individuals who have already made donations to help in this fight. God richly bless them.

We can defeat this virus if we all commit ourselves to respecting all the measures that have been outlined. I am confident that Ghanaians will comply with them, and the security services will not have to intervene, with extraordinary means, to enforce them. The love of country is deeply embedded in all of us, and I assure you that the security forces will conduct themselves with the necessary professionalism.

Meserɛ mo, nsɛm aa makayi, yɛn nyinaa yɛn mbɔ mɔden na yɛn disu. Nyankopɔn adaroma, ɛbɛ boa yɛn.

Minkpa nyɛ fai, saneɛ ni nwieɛ, nyɛ feɛ nyɛ bɔ mɔden ni nyɛ ye nɔ. Nyɔmo dromɔ, e baa wa wɔ feɛ.

We have prayed to Almighty God to heal our land, and I know that, by the Grace of God, He has heard our cry. Nonetheless, each one of us must do his or her part.

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May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

I thank you for your attention. Good night.

 

 

The decision according to the President is to help curb the spread of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) which has led to four deaths and infected some 137 people.

President Nana Akufo-Addo made the declaration in a national address late Friday evening, March 27, 2020.

Restrictions to stop COVID-19 spread

The rising cases of Coronavirus in the country heightened calls for Ghana to declare a lockdown in order to stop the spread.

Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had earlier said various options including a lockdown were being considered by the government as a next step in tackling the outbreak.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in response to such calls said although a lockdown decision remains an option, extensive consultations will be made to ensure that any decision the government takes, will be in the right direction.

Finance Minister directed to assess economic impact of potential lockdown

President Nana Akufo-Addo had earlier instructed the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to conduct an economic impact assessment of potential lockdown measures on the country.

“The President has instructed the Minister responsible for Finance to build the economic impact assessment which he did about two or three weeks ago and even presented parts of it to Parliament,” Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said on Wednesday.

“But he has also instructed him to work out the implications of any further measures on the economy and how to put in place economic measures, what people call a stimulus programme to ensure that these measures do not adversely hurt the economy.”

The Information Minister added that “all things being equal, once he is done, he [the Finance Minister] will brief the nation through Parliament on the economic measures being used there.”

IGP withdraws lockdown operation order to personnel

The Inspector-General of Police earlier on Friday withdrew an order directing his personnel to be on standby for a lockdown operation in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Obuasi over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

An internal police communiqué sighted by Citi News said that “further directives on the contents will be issued in due course.”

An earlier document from the police which went viral on social media indicated that the Ghana Police Service was putting a strategy in place for a lockdown.

The police were to be supported by the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Bureau of National Investigation.

The joint operation highlighted a number of roads and areas that were to be “sealed” during the lockdown.

In Accra for example, the Accra to Winneba route, the Accra to Kumasi route, the Accra to Akropong route and the Accra to Dodowa route, among others were cited for blocking by security personnel.

In its threat analysis, the police service noted that there was the possibility of “agitations and adverse reactions against the lockdown order.”

It also said there was “the likelihood of criminal elements taking advantage of the lockdown to loot businesses, stores and shops.”

There were to be 24/7 roadblocks and snap checkpoints to ensure compliance with the lockdown.

The police were also to conduct “robust day and night patrols to enforce directives” per their strategy.

 

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